Today, single parents rights are equal for single mothers as for single fathers. Of an estimated 13.7 million single parents in the U.S., 82.6 percent are women. Figures show that most children live with their moms.
Single Parents Rights for Single Moms:
- Struggling to make ends meet to look after her family, one of the biggest challenges for a single mom is coping financially. When a father doesn’t pay support, a single mom can apply to locate an absent father through the Department of Motor Vehicles and State Employment agencies and a single mom can pursue money owed through the state court system.
- A single mom can apply for several grants. She can also apply for a Pell Grant which is very attractive and does not have to be paid back. A Pell Grant allows a single mother to work from home, allowing her to work in the comfort of her home, and still have quality time with the kids. All she needs is a computer and an internet connection. Grants can be allowed up to $5,500. There is a further $10,000 for a scholarship. The Pell Grant is also available to children of a single mom for their education. The purpose of the Pell Grant is to offer scholarships to deserving single moms in order that they can improve their level of education and secure a job.
- A single woman can also obtain a mortgage, which is available to single mothers who are financially disadvantaged. A government grant is also available. This comes in the form of a no-interest loan of between $5,000 and $20,000 for a down payment on housing.
A father’s rights for divorced dads
Single Parents Rights apply to both single mothers and single fathers, except that they can be harder to enforce because of the mother’s biological connection to the child – whereas fathers have to establish paternity before being able to fully exercise their parental rights.
- A father’s right to claim paternity – If you were married to your child’s mother during the time the child was conceived, it is presumed that you are the biological father. If you were not married to the child’s mother at the time, you will need to establish paternity through your state’s Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). This will automatically open the door to your right to request visitation, as well as your right and duty to support your child.
- A father has a right to prevent third-party adoption – If you are unmarried and your ex-wife is pregnant with a child you believe is yours, you can prevent the adoption of that child to a third party. In some cases where the biological father is voluntarily absent from the child’s life and the mother wishes to remarry, some states will permit a stepfather to file for adoption.
- A father’s right to provide ongoing financial support – What this really means is that your child has a right to be supported by both parents financially. You can use an online child support calculator to estimate how much child support you may owe. You will never escape the penalties of not paying support. Chronic dead beat dads who don’t want to pay child support, in some states, can find themselves behind bars.
- A father has a right to maintain an ongoing relationship with his child – You are allowed to call your child and have regular contact. This can mean weekends and holidays to. Work with your ex-wife to establish how many times a week you will see the child, and how many days or weeks you will holiday with the other parent. If you have been absent from your child’s life, it may be difficult at first, but this will not last long.
- A father has a right to make collaborative decisions – a father who shares legal custody has the right to collaborate with his ex-wife on issues such as education, religion and medical care.
In the event you find yourself in a custody battle, and you have to choose a lawyer, be sure you choose the right one. Make sure the lawyer you chose has vast experience in Family Law and do not hesitate to ask him/her whatever questions you might have. Custody battles are extremely nerve – wracking and being prepared is crucial.
- If the case goes to court, be well prepared by knowing your rights and the details of the case.
- Make sure you have told your lawyer all the facts about your ex – spouse. You want your lawyer to be prepared during the court case.
- Allow the lawyer to do all the talking in court.
- Arrive on time and dress appropriately.
- Talk to family, friends, teachers, anyone who has knowledge about your relationship with your child. Ask them to testify in court if need be. You want to make sure that your child goes to the best possible parent and witnesses can strengthen and support your case.
- Never argue in front of your child. Your child should not be exposed to these court rulings and make sure your child feels loved and cared for by both parents, even if you are going through a messy custody battle.
Obstacles for moms asserting their single parents rights
- Single mothers tend to alienate the Judge or Custody Evaluator by talking too much or by raising irrelevant issues in an effort to make the Judge understand.
- Single mothers don’t know the rules of the game. Attorneys often don’t explain things to women clients and just expect single mothers to do as they say.
- Single mothers don’t know how to put across the father’s faults without sounding controlling.
- Single moms believe that because they are the mother, the process should favor them and that they will have no trouble getting their child custody rights. This might have been the case a few years back, but things have changed. Remember, the court will award custody to the parent whom they see most fit.
- Single moms believe that they have an advantage over the father simply because they are moms. This used to be so, but fathers are now on equal standing with moms and in some cases work harder to retain child custody rights that once were automatic.
A single mom armed with all the information about her rights, will have a good outcome.